Brendan Morrison still feels a little strange in the Flaming C.
He admits, though, that seeing Todd Bertuzzi — his former West Coast Express linemate during their days with the Canucks — skating for the homeside at the Saddledome a couple of seasons ago was even more of an eye-opener.
“(Bertuzzi) was the first one actually to be a core guy in Vancouver and then come over to Calgary,” Morrison said. “So it was definitely strange, intitially, seeing him in that jersey, and now that I put it on, it’s a weird feeling.”
For the past few years, the West Coast Express has been dropping off passengers on Olympic Way.
Bertuzzi was the first to arrive, signing with the Flames after stops in Florida, Detroit and Anaheim. After one season at the Saddledome, the 35-year-old power forward motored back to Motown for his second stint with the Red Wings.
Morrison spent time in Anaheim, Dallas and Washington and then looped back to B.C., accepting a training camp invite from the Canucks this fall. After the 35-year-old was released from his tryout, he signed a one-year deal in the least likely of places — Calgary.
Kinda makes you wonder whether Markus Naslund would consider a comeback.
Although they’ve travelled seperate paths, Morrison figures there are some similarities between the careers he and Bertuzzi have carved since leaving the Canucks.
“I think you could draw some parallels,” Morrison said. “Both of us obviously had some good years in Vancouver, then had some injury problems and kind of bounced around a little bit from team to team, and then I think last year, both for himself and myself, we had better years. And this year, we’re trying to build off that again. He’s off to a good start and I’m off to a decent start, so I guess there are some similarities.”
One surprising similarity is that they’re both healthy.
Bertuzzi has long been bothered by a grouchy back, while Morrison has had wrist, hip and knee issues in the past.
In the first month of this campaign, both have shown they can still be valuable commodities when their bodies co-operate.
Heading into Wednesday’s clash at the Saddleome, Bertuzzi was averaging a point per outing, with two goals and seven assists in nine games.
Morrison, meanwhile, was the Flames’ leading point-producer with three goals and seven helpers in 11 contests with his new team.
After Wednesday’s morning skate, Flames head coach Brent Sutter identified Morrison as one of Calgary’s most consistent performers so far. Bertuzzi has also been impressed with his old linemate.
“It’s just nice to see (Morrison) playing well, especially coming off some pretty bad injuries,” Bertuzzi said. “I think if you ask him, the most important thing is health. When you’re healthy and you’re feeling fine, it’s such a different game out there. When you’re stuggling and you’re hurting and you’re dragging, it can become a long season.”